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10 votes

If John had taken it, he would have let me know

In the context of the question posed by A, both 1 and 3 are grammatically correct, but 3 scans better, it has a nice rhythm, whereas A is a little bit abrupt and staccato. If either 1 or 3 are ...
Sunnyjohn's user avatar
  • 161
8 votes

If I were you vs. If I had been you

Technically, the phrase "If I were you" is not referring to the past. It's referring to a hypothetical situation in the present or the future (subjunctive). So, again, technically, it should be: ...
filistinist's user avatar
  • 1,496
7 votes

If John had taken it, he would have let me know

Both 1 and 3 are grammatically correct, but I would take them to describe subtly different things. If John took it, he would have let me know. This is a statement of expectation. To put it into a ...
Glen O's user avatar
  • 194
4 votes

Subjunctive Mood with the Type 3 Conditional or "could with the perfect infinitive" expressing ability, theoretical possibility, etc. in the past

You’ve asked about the verbs used in your quoted paragraph’s last sentence. Among patients in his study, “some of them had gotten flu in the past, and we’re looking to see if the autoantibodies could ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 135k
3 votes

Is it ever grammatically correct to use "hadn't had + V3"?

No, it's never grammatically correct to use hadn't had, plus an additional past participle. There is no such construction. Hadn't had occurs, because had is already a past participle and together they ...
John Lawler's user avatar
3 votes

Using "would" instead of "would have" with a past perfect subjunctive clause

There are lots more conditionals than the three you learned in ESL class. The first, second, and third conditional are: If you learn the lyrics, you will sing in the choir, If you learned the lyrics, ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
3 votes

Using "would" instead of "would have" with a past perfect subjunctive clause

What the poster is misunderstanding (his words, not mine) is clear from the title: the structure in question involves neither the subjunctive nor the past perfect. The “if, had, would” structure is ...
David's user avatar
  • 12.9k
3 votes

Why couldn't I <have killed vs. kill> that dragon when I found him in the woods?

The kill version indicates that he tried but failed. Q: Why couldn’t I pull the sword from the stone? A: Because you aren’t King Arthur. The have killed version indicates thinking about a choice ...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 38.7k
3 votes

A Strange Conditional: "I couldn’t have talked to her that day if I never talked to her again"

Let's reorder this and take out some descriptors: If I never talked to her again, I couldn’t have talked to her that day. "if" here, meaning that we're making a supposition that the rest of the ...
scohe001's user avatar
  • 3,028
3 votes

Is "Unless you had told me about Sue's hair, I wouldn't have noticed it" correct and natural-sounding?

What is wrong is that this is a situation where you can't use unless. From Oxford Dictionaries Online, unless: Except if (used to introduce the case in which a statement being made is not true or ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
3 votes

Is this type of conditional sentence used by native speakers?

If my mother-in-law was coming tomorrow, I would have spent all day cleaning the house. This sentence is actually grammatical, but very specifically conveys as a matter of fact that if your mother-in-...
user21820's user avatar
  • 2,159
3 votes

If I were you vs. If I had been you

I think that for a counterfactual conditional like this, you need to relate it back to the actual situation, as follows: A. "If I were you I would have done that -- but I am not you, so I did not do ...
Bathrobe's user avatar
  • 149
2 votes

What time would it pass? or What time would it have passed?

You're fighting two idiomatic uses of the verb to pass. The first is the elapse of time, as in Why would time seem to pass so slowly when you're waiting for a bus? The second is the meaning of not ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.7k
2 votes

Order of the "had" clause in conditional perfect

It is grammatically correct. Here are a few cases of this inversion, as found in the literature. As corrected by user Edwin Ashworth it is not often found nowadays. However, for the particular ...
LPH's user avatar
  • 21.8k
1 vote

Is "Not that we would have expected anything else, of course" sound?

would have expected expresses a hypothetical. Perhaps the writer did not know of the blacklisting until after Xiaomi responded to it, or knew of it but gave no thought to how Xiaomi might respond (...
Anton Sherwood's user avatar
1 vote

Use of conditional sentences

I would prefer the first version. However, if they had chosen already suggests that they didn't, so the second part of the sentence is rather redundant. You could say '...but fortunately they went by ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 25.9k
1 vote

Subject–verb inversion in a conditional’s protasis: does that mean it happened or not?

I find the example to be a little lacking in context, and the semantics of the conditional seem counter-intuitive at first glance, but yes, the hypothetical conditional does seem to indicate that the ...
Wehage's user avatar
  • 177
1 vote

"How could I" and "how could I have" in rhetorical questions

This understanding is not correct: So when I ask “How I could run?”, I understand it is a question about how I had the ability to run. But when I ask “How I could have run?”, I understand it is a ...
ruakh's user avatar
  • 15.5k
1 vote

Usage of Would or Would Have with Prophesied Event

"He built a temple in preparation for the coming rain" is clear and avoids ambiguity.
Centaurus's user avatar
  • 50.1k
1 vote

Past Hypothesis vs Past Condition

You have correctly analysed the two sentences with the past perfect tense in the if-clause as 'hypothetic' or counterfactual/non-factual, i.e. you didn't tell me and he didn't need help. However, the ...
Shoe's user avatar
  • 33.1k
1 vote

Past Hypothesis vs Past Condition

I think the assumption you are starting with is incorrect. "Past Perfect tense" when referring to a situation that didn't happen in the past, which is a hypothetic situation. [ a hypothetical ...
Elliot's user avatar
  • 44
1 vote

What’s the difference between using “would ᴠᴇʀʙ” and “would have ᴠᴇʀʙᴇᴅ” in the “then” part of conditionals?

Is there any difference If I were you, I would work harder is subjunctive present, which means that the verb phrase "would work" expresses something that is a possibility, a wish or a desire rather ...
Joseph Paduch's user avatar
1 vote

Cleft sentence with subjunctive

I assume that you want to state the following: Some people are complaining and you would like them to stop. Let’s phrase this as a typically arranged conditional clause first: If everybody stopped ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
  • 4,405
1 vote

Mixed conditional and sequence of events

Your tense for thawed out is okay. I do not recommend replacing if with should. It sounds show-off-y to me. Better to stick with something straightforward and clear.
aparente001's user avatar
  • 21.6k
1 vote

Right way to use "Cannot but help"

There is no correct way to use "cannot help but." There are two traditional and synonymous idioms, "cannot but [do something]" and "cannot help [doing something]." Those who say "cannot help but" ...
Dino's user avatar
  • 19
1 vote

"I would give you all the help you needed" vs. "would need" vs. "need"

This phenomenon is called the 'modal preterite' by the author below. Tense backshifting is a way to denote modality in English. EG: 'If it rained tomorrow, we'd be out of luck.' 'It's time you went ...
Brian J's user avatar
  • 175
1 vote

"If I knew you're coming I wouldn't have come"

I was taught to keep my writing short and to the point. So my answer would be, "Had I known you were coming, I wouldn't have.
Robert La Rue's user avatar
1 vote

What is the tense of "I would have been happy to..."?

This tense is perfect conditional, because the formation is :Would+have+past participle .For instance, I would have travelled abroad but I hadn't had passport.
Voltaire D'Haiti's user avatar

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